The province is changing course on funding its autism file, following months of protest.
The new Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith, announced today Queen’s Park is moving towards a much-sought after needs-based model. Smith acknowledged the previously announced change in funding, that saw families receiving a fixed amount of money based on income and child’s age, wasn’t working. “My message to families of children and youth with autism is, we have heard you, and we are taking action,” said Smith. “Our government is committed to a needs-based program that provides children and youth with the supports they need to thrive. Over the past number of weeks, I have met with service providers and families of children with autism who share a common goal to provide the best possible care and make a positive difference in the lives of children and families living with autism in Ontario.”
The changes come following consultation with an Autism Advisory Panel, tasked with developing recommendations for a new, needs-based and sustainable Ontario Autism Program with the goal of helping as many children as possible. The panel is examining results from online surveys, telephone town halls and written submissions as well as considering relevant evidence, science and data and will submit its advice by the end of summer.
“The advisory panel’s expert advice will be critical to ensuring our investments across government, including in Ontario’s health care system, promote and advance a truly child-centred approach,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “I look forward to receiving their recommendation. In the meantime, we are continuing to listen to families of children and youth with autism and remain fully committed to supporting them through enhanced supports.”
A new Autism program is expected by April 2020.